This will get messy

"We did the first one at my mom's house. My friends came." Since then, Julien Thomas has turned Late Nite Art into a bit of a Vancouver institution: the 27th Late Nite Art event is unfolding at Interurban Art Gallery. Vancouverites show up to get their hands dirty and stoke their creative urges. We are about to see that creativity is political, and potentially revolutionary.

Late Nite Art teamed up with Changemakers Vancouver to present "Art, Activism, and Changemaking", featuring photographer Zack Embree.

Tonight, we explore change on a personal level. Embree is on hand to prime the creative well by sharing his own story: a personal change in his life compelled him to document the seismic changes that Canada is experiencing right now.

Cut-up technique

Changemakers social media director Leah Huyghe gives me an assignment as I walk in: find a word or image of what change means to me, from a pile of old-school magazines scattered across two long tables.

Leah Huyghe, Changemakers Vancouver

Fair enough. In life, you're handed a limited vocabulary with which to work: you get what you get. From that, you must get your message across with the tools at your disposal. This sometimes means combining those tools, sometimes it means breaking them.

I sit down at one of the long tables and get busy with the scissors. Around me are curious strangers, already drawing on the butcher paper-covered table with chalk, water colours, pens, pencils. Bruce is a roboticist ("I can move objects that are fractions of a micron.") who also grows strawberries. Crystal is a high-performance gymnastics coach.

Ajay Puri and Mohamed Ehad describe Changemakers as a group of "long-term visionists", who want to break the cycle of Vancouverites attending an event, getting all stoked, then just going back to their workaday lives. How do we keep that spark ignited?

Mo and Ajay, Changemakers Vancouver

Puri and Ehad introduce Thomas, who introduces us to our chef for the evening; because, yes, there's food. Yashar is part of the secret-restaurant underworld: he runs a speakeasy culinary series called The Dinner Project.

Yash, your secret chef.

Yashar keeps it brief: "If you want extra bread, come to me." He lets the food speak for itself.

Any questions?

Crystal remarked, "Sharing food is one of the most fundamental ways to get to know someone." It helps when there's tomato jam.

Late Nite Arts photographer Jordan Roberts photographs the food, as required by Vancouver city bylaw; which stipulates that food on a plate or board must be photographed and shared via electronic means.

Jordan Roberts: What do you tell cheese to say when you want it to smile? "Me"?

We agree that both Jordan-photographers cannot shoot the same subject (or each other) at the same time, or the universe will collapse in upon itself. Safety is the number-one rule.